BHP Billiton Approves US$367 Million Investment in Newcastle

Mining giant BHP Billiton has approved a US$367 million (BHP Billiton share) investment for the third stage of development of the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group's (NCIG) coal handling facility in Newcastle, Australia.

BHP Billiton's wholly-owned subsidiary, Hunter Valley Energy Coal Pty Ltd, is a 35.5 per cent shareholder in the holding company of the NCIG.

When announced in 2008, shareholders in NCIG are BHP Billiton 35.5 per cent (through Hunter Valley Energy Coal Pty Ltd), Peabody Coal 17.7 per cent (through Excel Coal Limited), Felix NSW Pty Ltd 15.3 per cent, Donaldson Coal Pty Ltd 11.6 per cent, Whitehaven Coal Mining Limited 11.1 per cent and Centennial Coal Infrastructure Pty Ltd 8.8 per cent.

In a statement released August 31, BHP Billiton said the port expansion project will increase total capacity at the coal terminal from 53 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 66mtpa.

The first coal on the new ship loader is scheduled to occur in the 2014 financial year, with the terminal expected to operate at full capacity within the following 12 months.

The expansion will increase BHP Billiton's allocation at NCIG by a further 4.6mtpa to 19.2mtpa supporting the future expansions of the Mt Arthur Coal mine, located approximately five kilometres south of Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia.

"We are steadily growing the Mt Arthur Mine and evaluating the development of Caroona. This port expansion underpins the future of these two sites." BHP Billiton Energy Coal President Jimmy Wilson said in a company statement.

BHP Billiton also announced last August 24 that it completed its acquisition of Petrohawk Energy Corporation through a short-form merger under Delaware law of its wholly owned subsidiary with and into Petrohawk, with Petrohawk being the surviving corporation as a wholly owned subsidiary of BHP Billiton.

The merger was the final step of the acquisition process and follows the previously announced completion of the tender offer by BHP Billiton to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Petrohawk.

J. Michael Yeager BHP Billiton Petroleum Chief Executive said the Petrohawk acquisition adds high-quality growth to the company.

"With the completion of this transaction, BHP Billiton Petroleum is on track to deliver compound annual growth in production volumes of ten percent for the remainder of the decade. We are excited that Petrohawk's sizeable U.S. workforce is joining our talented group of professionals and we are ready to grow this business over the long-term."

Petrohawk has requested the New York Stock Exchange to take the necessary steps with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to delist Petrohawk's common stock from the NYSE.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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